Category Archives: Energy News

New plans to make UK world leader in green energy

The Prime Minister has set out new plans to Build Back Greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions and boosting exports.

£160 million will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across communities like in Teesside and Humber in Northern England, Scotland and Wales to hugely increase our offshore wind capacity, which is already the largest in the world and currently meets 10 per cent of our electricity demand.

This new investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs rapidly created and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories and the supply chains, manufacturing the next-generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.

Through this, UK businesses including smaller suppliers will be well-placed to win orders and further investment from energy companies around the world and increase their competitive standing on the global stage, as well as supporting low-carbon supply chains.

The Prime Minister has also set out further commitments to ensure that, within the decade, the UK will be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution as we accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050.

These include:

  • Confirming offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage, boosting the government’s previous 30GW target to 40GW.
  • Creating a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1GW of energy by 2030, which is over 15 times the current volumes worldwide. Building on the strengths of our North Sea, this brand new technology allows wind farms to be built further out to sea in deeper waters, boosting capacity even further where winds are strongest and ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of the next generation of clean energy.
  • Setting a target to support up to double the capacity of renewable energy in the next Contracts for Difference auction, which will open in late 2021 – providing enough clean, low cost energy to power up to 10 million homes

These commitments are the first stage outlined as part of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, which will be set out fully later this year. This is expected to include ambitious targets and major investment into industries, innovation and infrastructure that will accelerate the UK’s path to net zero by 2050.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Our seas hold immense potential to power our homes and communities with low-cost green energy and we are already leading the way in harnessing its strengths.

Now, as we build back better we must build back greener. So we are committing to new ambitious targets and investment into wind power to accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050.

This sets us on our path towards a green industrial revolution, which will provide tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs.

Together with planned stringent requirements on supporting UK manufacturers in government-backed renewables projects, these measures will mean the industry can reach its target of 60% of offshore wind farm content coming from the UK.

Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said:

The offshore wind sector is a major British success story, providing cheap, green electricity while supporting thousands of good-quality jobs.

Powering every home in the country through offshore wind is hugely ambitious, but it’s exactly this kind of ambition which will mean we can build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Today’s announcement marks the latest stage of the government’s support for renewable energy. Last September the third round of the Contracts for Difference renewable energy auction delivered record-low prices on enough clean energy to power 7 million homes. Earlier this year the government announced the next round would be open to onshore wind and solar projects for the first time since 2015.

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 10GW in operation off its coasts.

The government’s plan for renewable energy forms part of wider efforts to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener from coronavirus.

Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country. In 2019, UK emissions were 42 per cent lower than in 1990, while our economy over the same period grew by 72 per cent.

Hugh McNeal, CEO of RenewableUK, said:

The government has raised the ambition for offshore wind and renewables, and our industry is ready to meet the challenge. A green recovery with renewables at its heart will be good for consumers and jobs, as well as helping to meet our 2050 net zero emissions target. Support for new floating wind projects will ensure the UK stays at the forefront of global innovation in renewables, and provides new opportunities in the low carbon transition.

Energy UK’s Chief Executive, Emma Pinchbeck, said:

The UK’s power sector has reduced emissions by nearly 70%, but we know we need to go further and faster on the road to Net Zero. The energy industry will work with Government to turn our world-leading low carbon power sector into a Green Recovery for the whole economy.

The package of support for offshore and floating wind announced by the Prime Minister today takes a UK decarbonisation success story and winds it up to a scale fit for the Green Recovery, creating jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

We need to build back better for the environment, for the economy and for communities. We look forward to the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for the low carbon industrial revolution, later this autumn.

Keith Anderson, CEO of ScottishPower, said:

These bold ambitions and clear targets are exactly the right signals at exactly the right time. They will encourage long-term investment and innovation from the renewables industry – and they will boost employment and economic benefits right across the UK. ScottishPower is committed to doubling down on our commitments to delivering 100% clean green energy that matches the UK’s aim to cut emissions for every home.

Benj Sykes, Industry Chair of OWIC, said:

Offshore wind is on track to become the backbone of Britain’s electricity system, providing reliable, low-cost clean power to homes and businesses across the country. The industry is investing tens of billions of pounds in new offshore wind projects, supporting local economies and employment in communities across the UK. Our global leadership in offshore wind, coupled with new support for investment in ports, will help unlock the huge opportunity for the UK to build a world-leading, competitive supply chain.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, CEO of SSE, said:

We welcome today’s announcement which will help ensure that more low cost offshore wind can be deployed before 2030, creating green jobs and putting the UK on the right path to net zero. This complements SSE’s own plans to invest over £7.5 billion in low carbon infrastructure over the next five years, including building the largest offshore wind farm in the world at Dogger Bank with Equinor.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

Fuelling a sustainable economic recovery by reigniting business investment and creating green jobs is the right response to the challenges unleashed by COVID-19.

A low-carbon power system will underpin the green industrial revolution. Investment in port infrastructure and opening up already successful auctions for renewable electricity will help accelerate construction of offshore wind farms and secure low-cost renewable power for homes and businesses.

Duncan Clark, Head of UK Region for Ørsted said:

We welcome today’s announcement from the government which will unlock huge opportunities for world class UK supply chain companies, both domestically and overseas, to market the skills and innovative technologies that have been fostered in the UK offshore wind industry.

Offshore wind is the most cost effective way to achieve the UK’s net zero ambitions and delivering 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is an essential part of this roadmap. This is a challenging target but achievable if Government and the industry continue to work together to accelerate deployment and build out the UK project pipeline as quickly as possible, regenerating coastal communities while expediting our progress to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable and Clean Technology (REA) said:

We welcome this important commitment from the Prime Minister to lead a Green Industrial Revolution. The REA has long advocated that the UK can be powered safely and securely by renewable energy. We look forward to working with his Departments on further exciting opportunities for delivering renewable heat and transport and other renewable power technologies and flexibility markets also vital for meeting our Net Zero commitments.

Sabrina Malpede, ACT Blade, Managing Director said:

We are delighted to hear of the government’s plan to support clean wind power development in the UK. Investing in this industry has real potential to create jobs, boost productivity and promote sustainable growth. At ACT Blade, we strive to support wind energy development by contributing to lower its cost. We hope the Build Back Greener plan includes support for innovative technologies and its commercialization, as well as promote policies for a real clean energy transition.

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said:

The Prime Minister is right to acknowledge the UK’s renewable energy resource as one of the best in the world and right to focus on the development of wind power, as part of a balanced green energy mix, as a key way to power the UK’s green economic recovery.

All parts of the UK can and should benefit from the development of this resource and the renewable energy industry in Scotland looks forward to working alongside government to deliver jobs, investment and innovation as we move towards our ambitious net-zero targets.

Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy UK&I, said:

This is an ambitious announcement by the government. Offshore wind with hydrogen energy storage can provide reliable clean energy and will be vital to achieving net zero. The UK’s unique position means we can be at the forefront of developing deeper sea waters and the supply chain will welcome the commitment from Government in this innovative area.

Julian Brown, Vice President and UK Country Manager of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind said:

We strongly support the government’s plans to Build Back Greener! In addition to confirming the immense role offshore wind will have in the UK’s clean growth, the government’s injection of vital funds into ports and manufacturing locations will provide a real boost towards the realisation of many thousands of UK offshore wind jobs. This is truly a step forward for the UK’s green economic recovery.

Tom Glover, RWE UK Country Chair, RWE Renewables, said:

As one of the world’s leading companies for renewable energy, committed to be carbon neutral by 2040 and to grow our renewables portfolio in the UK, RWE welcomes the package of measures to further develop UK offshore wind sector announced by the Prime Minister today. This major step further cements the UK as one of the most attractive markets for investment in offshore wind. We will work with the government and the wider energy industry to deliver these ambitions, creating thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment. We look forward to the Prime Minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution which we hope will include measures to overcome some of the restrictions to rolling out renewable energy even faster, such as the significant and co-ordinated investment in our grid infrastructure.

Mike Hughes, Zone President, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, said:

We welcome today’s news of a substantial investment in next-generation offshore wind projects.

Green technologies hold huge potential to enhance the skills, know-how, and production capabilities across the UK, while also supporting our collective progress towards net zero emissions with high-quality products and technologies developed here in the UK.

We believe there has never been a better time to invest in renewables technology production, as the UK prepares to hosts the milestone 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) next year.

Today, the UK today is already a world scale leader in offshore wind energy, as we pride ourselves on up to 40% renewable energy in our country’s electricity balance. Further investment in making the UK the world leader in low-cost green energy production will fuel growth while keeping costs and emissions in check.

Millions more UK homes to be powered by renewables

Details of the next round of the Contracts for Difference scheme, which opens in 2021, have been set out today, Monday 2 March.

This latest round will be open to renewable technologies including onshore wind and solar, with proposals to include floating offshore wind. The scheme will also be changed to facilitate the deployment of energy storage.

Local communities will have a more effective voice on developments that impact them, through proposals for tough new guidance on community engagement for developers of onshore wind across Great Britain, also announced today. They will have a definitive say on whether projects are allowed to proceed. It will remain the case that no English onshore wind project can proceed without the consent of the local community.

The Committee on Climate Change have said that we need to quadruple renewable energy generation in the UK to reach net zero by 2050, and today’s announcement is a step in that direction.

Secretary of State for Business and Energy Alok Sharma said:

Ending our contribution to climate change means making the UK a world leader in renewable energy.

We are determined to do that in a way that works for everyone, listening to local communities and giving them an effective voice in decisions that affect them.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said:

The government is pressing ahead with action to meet our net zero emissions target quickly and at lowest cost to consumers and businesses. Backing cheap renewables is a clear example of the practical action to tackle climate change that the public is demanding, and this will speed up the transition to a net zero economy.

Today’s consultation outlines proposals to ensure the Contracts for Difference scheme can support the increased ambition required, including:

  • making the UK a world-leader in new technologies such as floating offshore wind, which would allow wind farms to be built further away from the shore and increase clean energy capacity
  • supporting our renewables supply chain to enhance productivity and increase competitiveness, boosting the UK’s world-class clean energy industry
  • improving the scheme to better support energy storage, so projects can provide power when the wind stops blowing or the sun is not shining

This is part of the Year of Climate Action, a defining year for our country and our planet, in the run up to the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

Over 10% of NHS estate to switch to 100% renewable electricity in April in landmark deal

NHS Property Services (NHSPS) has announced two new energy contracts via Inspired Energy. British Gas will provide 100% renewable electricity and Corona will provide natural gas to all their properties across England by April 2020.

NHSPS is responsible for around 10 per cent of the NHS estate, totalling more than 34 million sq ft, with over 3,500 properties and 5,000 employees, and is committed to actively making its sites more environmentally friendly.

By moving to 100% renewable electricity, NHSPS will offset over 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, demonstrating its dedication to tackling climate change while promoting sustainable practices with all its buildings.

The use of renewable electricity won’t increase costs to either NHSPS tenants or NHSPS itself. With the implementation of a new procurement strategy, as part of the new contracts, it will be able to deliver some of the best prices in the market, while managing risk and maintaining budget certainty.

The move follows the launch of the ‘For a greener NHS’ campaign and forms part of NHSPS helping to transform the NHS estate so that it can provide sustainably run buildings that help to deliver excellent patient care.

The NHS is currently responsible for around 4-5% of the UK’s carbon footprint. In September 2019, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said the NHS would be accelerating its efforts to tackle climate change with a series of co-ordinated measures to reduce its carbon output – saying that the health service should also embolden staff to lead discussions with the public about wider measures needed to address climate change.

As well as switching to 100% renewable electricity by April 2020, NHSPS is also committing £1.5m in 2019/20 towards an LED upgrade programme, among other measures.

As well as being responsible for over 11% of the NHS estate itself, NHSPS provides property and facilities management expertise to the NHS. At a time of major change and increasing demand for the NHS, NHS Property Services is reducing costs, creating a more fit for purpose estate and generating vital funds, all of which are reinvested back into the NHS estate to support improvements in frontline patient care.

Commenting on the deal, Martin Steele, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Property Services, said: “Switching to 100% renewable electricity for all our buildings is a landmark moment in efforts to transform our NHS portfolio into a sustainable estate. We take our responsibility towards reducing the environmental impact of our buildings very seriously. This move will also help us to improve the wellbeing of our people and patients whilst reducing NHS operating and maintenance costs.”

Clean energy to power over seven million homes by 2025 at record low prices

Twelve new renewable energy projects have won Contracts for Difference – enough to power over seven million homes at record low costs.

  • Around 6GW of clean energy is to be added to the grid by 2025 – an important step towards decarbonising our energy system and reaching net zero emissions by 2050
  • Results show the UK’s leadership in offshore wind, creating up to 8,000 jobs across the UK and economic opportunities as we leave the European Union

Twelve new renewable energy projects will be powering over seven million homes at record low prices thanks to the latest round of the government’s flagship Contracts for Difference scheme.

The new projects will provide around 6GW of capacity – 2.4GW more than the last round. For the first time renewables are expected to come online below market prices and without additional subsidy on bills, meaning a better deal for consumers. The costs of offshore wind are now around 30% lower than the second auction held in 2017, with projects now being delivered for as low as £39.65/MWh.

The new projects and lower prices are another step toward decarbonising our energy system as we work toward net zero emissions by 2050, creating jobs and economic opportunities across the UK. According to research by RenewableUK, the new projects could see 8,000 jobs created.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The UK is leading the way in the fight against climate change, and it’s great news that millions more homes will be powered by clean energy at record low prices.

Seizing the opportunities of clean energy not only helps to protect our planet, but will also back businesses and boost jobs across the UK.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said:

Offshore wind is a British success story, with new projects at record low prices creating new opportunities for jobs and economic growth as we leave the EU.

The support we’re announcing today will mean that over 7 million more homes will be powered by renewable energy as we decarbonise our energy system – crucial as we continue on the road to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the government’s primary method of supporting low-carbon electricity. It encourages investment in renewables by providing projects with a stable income while protecting consumers from paying increased support costs when electricity prices are high.

Renewables projects across the UK have been awarded CfDs – from Birmingham to Orkney. Successful technology types include:

  • Offshore wind – wind projects off the UK coast delivering up to a third of our electricity coming from the technology by 2030;
  • Advanced Conversion Technologies – converting waste which would otherwise go to landfill into energy;
  • Remote Island Wind – wind projects on the remote islands of the UK which can take advantage of strong winds.

Today’s results are the latest stage of the government’s support for renewable energy. In March 2019 we signed a ground-breaking £250 million sector deal with the offshore wind industry which committed us to maximising opportunities and sourcing up to a third of electricity from offshore wind by 2030.

Read the results: Contracts for Difference (CfD) allocation round 3

The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 8GW installed at the end of 2018. This is expected to rise to 10GW by next year, and even further as more projects start contributing power to the grid into the 2020s.

In June the government committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and ending the UK’s contribution to global warming altogether. The UK has already made a strong start in decarbonising its energy system, with renewables generating a record 33% of the country’s electricity last year.

It has been estimated that the low carbon economy in the UK could grow four times faster than rest of the economy out to 2030 and could deliver between £60 billion and £170 billion in exports by 2030. Today’s results demonstrate the potential of renewables to create such ‘green-collar’ jobs.

Ofgem to protect customers of failed supplier Eversmart Energy

Eversmart Energy, an energy supplier with around 29,000 domestic customers and a very small number of business customers has ceased to trade.

Under Ofgem’s safety net, the energy supply of Eversmart Energy’s customers will continue and prepayment meters can be topped up as normal. The outstanding credit balances of domestic customers will be protected.

Ofgem will choose a new supplier to take on all of Eversmart Energy’s customers. This supplier will contact these customers shortly after being appointed.

Ofgem’s advice to Eversmart Energy’s customers in the meantime is to:

  • Not switch to another energy supplier until a new one has been appointed and you have been contacted by them in the following weeks. 
  • Take a meter reading ready for when your new supplier contacts you.

This will make the process of transferring customers over to the chosen supplier, and paying back any outstanding credit balances, as smooth as possible.

Philippa Pickford, Ofgem’s director for future retail markets, said:

“Eversmart Energy customers do not need to worry, as under our safety net we’ll make sure your energy supplies are secure and domestic customers’ credit balances are protected.

“Ofgem will now choose a new supplier for you and whilst we’re doing this our advice is to ‘sit tight’ and don’t switch. You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your new tariff.” 

Updates are available from our website or through our twitter feed @ofgem.

Customers who have questions should visit the FAQs on Ofgem website or https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-safety-net-business for business customers. Or if they need additional support, call Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06 or email them via their webform. Advice will also be shared on Ofgem’s twitter @ofgem and facebook channels.